As we already know, Betway offer its customers a total of seven different Virtual Sports betting services on its website. However, when it comes to comparing the Virtual Sport to its real-life counterpart, from the point of view of betting on it, how does the Virtual version of the sport compare?

It’s an intriguing question to ask as when it comes to Virtual Sports, the realism factor in one may be considerably greater than in another and if you want to replicate the fun of betting on a real sport as accurately as possible, you will need to know which are the best Virtual Sports to play in that respect.

So what we have done is gone through each of the seven different Virtual Sports on offer at Betway. We have rated them in five key areas which are:

  • Animations – Not just how realistic the animations are, but also how well they have been realised, how accurately they portray the sport., how well it is presented and how often you can play the Virtual Sport before you start to recognise repeat animations etc.
  • Sound – The quality of the commentary with the Virtual Sport as well as any other sound effects (crowd noise etc), that plays in the background.
  • Competitors – How realistic are the competitors in an event. Are they representative of real life?
  • Betting Markets – How do the betting markets on this Virtual Sport match up with the markets you would find in a similar real-world event.
  • Popularity – How popular is this particular sport in terms of sports betting and how likely is the Virtual Sport likely to appeal to punters in general.

We have then listed some of the positive aspects of each Virtual Sport, expanding on the ratings we have given for each and then we list a number of ways that this Virtual Sport could be improved. Lastly, we then give the Virtual Sport a total rating and to conclude the article, we will present our table of Virtual Sports ranked in terms of realism from top to bottom.

Let’s begin with our first Virtual Sport at Betway.

Virtual Horse Racing

  • Animations – 9/10
  • Sound – 7/10
  • Competitors – 9/10
  • Betting Markets – 7/10
  • Popularity – 10/10

Positives

There’s so much to like with Virtual Horse racing, the animation is generally excellent, though not quite as realistic as some other Virtual Sports. The names of the competitors are fine, and sometimes funny, and the betting markets available are also decent. Given horseracing is hugely popular too, it is easy to see why this is a very popular Virtual.

How could Virtual Horse Racing be Improved?

I think the sound could be improved, allowing the commentator to say horses names would be a positive, even though it would limit the number of horses available, I still think it would be excellent. As would having real form for each of the runners, so you can build up a history of the horse as it runs in Virtual Races.

Overall Rating – 42/50

Virtual Cycling

  • Animations – 10/10
  • Sound – 6/10
  • Competitors – 8/10
  • Betting Markets – 7/10
  • Popularity – 6/10

Positives

Virtual Cycling is a fantastic experience visually with the race itself looking almost as good as the races that you would see on the television. The commentary is basic but fine but what is annoying is the sound effects, which have been ported over from horseracing and greyhound racing, which are out of context here. Despite that it offers solid betting and decent realism in terms of the competitors.

How could Virtual Cycling be Improved?

Cycling is improving in popularity and as it does so, it will likely attract a bigger betting audience. Improving the sound would be a big plus here as the crowd in a velodrome is not the same as one at a greyhound or horse race.

Overall Rating –  37/50

Virtual Greyhounds

  • Animations – 9/10
  • Sound – 7/10
  • Competitors – 10/10
  • Betting Markets – 7/10
  • Popularity – 8/10

Positives

There is a lot to like about Virtual Greyhounds, the presentation of the dogs at the start and the race itself is very similar to what you would find on any Greyhound TV channel, the sound is decent, although could be improved with a few small tweaks, and the names of the competitors are also realistic. With a solid number of bets to make and the sport a popular betting option in the UK, this is definitely one of the top Virtual Sports for realism.

How could Virtual Greyhounds be Improved?

Although a very solid Virtual Sport, I think Virtual Greyhounds would be improved by the commentator saying more than just the trap number of the dog in question. Adding the ability to say the name of the runners (even if this means a smaller selection of runners), would add extra realism and depth.

Overall Rating – 41/50

Virtual Motor Racing

  • Animations – 8/10
  • Sound – 8/10
  • Competitors – 6/10
  • Betting Markets – 6/10
  • Popularity – 7/10

Positives

In general, the animation and presentation of Virtual Motor Racing is fine for a Virtual Sport and to make this even more realistic would be difficult, given how modern F1 racing (or similar) is presented. The sound is also very good, with nice engine noises and the ‘doppler’ effect as the cars race by a very nice touch. The popularity of motor racing is also a positive and there are generally a decent amount of simple betting markets to enjoy.

How could Virtual Motor Racing be Improved?

I think increasing the number of betting markets on Virtual Motor Racing would be good, as would incorporating, something like a qualifying session into the main race. I’d also look to get a more realistic representation of teams and drivers in the presentation, so that it more accurately reflects modern day motor sport and in particular F1.

Overall Rating – 35/50

Virtual Speedway

  • Animations – 10/10
  • Sound – 7/10
  • Competitors – 8/10
  • Betting Markets – 7/10
  • Popularity – 5/10

Positives

The animations on Virtual Speedway are so good that it can be difficult to distinguish it from the real thing at times. The sound is also strong and the fact that the competitors use their real names makes the line up of the races, (all of which have four riders, as in real life) also realistic. There’s a decent selection of bets available too and it is only the relatively low popularity of Speedway as a betting sport that hinders it here.

How could Virtual Speedway be Improved?

With less popular sports, it is more difficult to make improvements to what is already a very good Virtual Sport. In Virtual Speedway’s case, giving some context to the races (perhaps making them part of a match between two teams of riders as in real Speedway) would make it more realistic and add a new dimension to betting too.

Overall Rating –  37/50

Virtual Trotting

  • Animations – 9/10
  • Sound – 5/10
  • Competitors – 8/10
  • Betting Markets – 6/10
  • Popularity – 5/10

Positives

The graphics and animations on Betway’s Virtual Trotting are excellent, they are smooth and the way the racers are introduced and animated is very impressive. The race unfolds nicely too on screen, even though it is relatively short. The competitors are relatively realistic too.

How could Virtual Trotting be Improved?

Trotting isn’t one of the most popular sports in the UK and while it has a particularly active scene in other parts of globe, it’s appeal in the UK will always be much smaller than the other sports on the list. That is a fact that is going to be hard for it to overcome. The sound on the Trotting Virtual Sport could be improved, when we tried it out, it was glitchy and repetitive, as could the small range of betting markets but it is its lack of popularity in certain markets that will likely count against it.

Overall Rating – 33/50

Virtual Football

  • Animations – 5/10
  • Sound – 7/10
  • Competitors – 6/10
  • Betting Markets – 8/10
  • Popularity – 10/10

Positives

The animations on the game are nicely done but they do have their drawbacks (see below). The sound is excellent and the use of Ian Darke to commentate adds a nice realistic feel to the commentary. The wide range of betting markets on the sport is also to be commended and of course, as a popular sport around the globe, Virtual Football is always likely to be a winner with fans.

How could Virtual Football be Improved?

Y big gripe with Virtual football is the fact that the animations are repeated so often that you soon come to recognise the same animation in different games. A greater variety in animations, perhaps with different endings for each, would help improve this aspect. Including real life team names would also help (although there may be licensing issues with this). I also feel adding context to Virtual Football, rather than having single standalone games, by having teams compete in a league or other tournament would also greatly enhance its realism and the enjoyment factor for players.

Overall Rating – 36/50

What is the most realistic Virtual Sport – Final Rankings

  1. Virtual Horseracing – 42/50
  2. Virtual Greyhounds – 41/50
  3. Virtual Cycling – 37/50
  4. Virtual Speedway – 37/50
  5. Virtual Football – 36/50
  6. Virtual Motor Sports – 35/50
  7. Virtual Trotting – 33/50

As you can see Virtual Horseracing just edges out greyhound racing, with the remaining sports all clustered a little way behind.